electrimafried (electrimafried) wrote in icon_tutorial,

Tutorial: Coloring without using selective coloring

Go from to in Photoshop Elements


How to color an image without using selective coloring

Difficulty: Easy
Steps: 3
Program: Photoshop Elements 3

Alright, everyone I was bored so I decided it might be fun to make a little tutorial on how I color. I use photoshop elements 3, which, as far as I know, doesn't have selective coloring. If it does, I don't use it. I prefer this method. So, anyways, today we're going to learn how to color without using selective coloring.

Why would you want to know how to do this?
-If you're new to icon making and just want to learn how to make nicely colored images
-If you HAVE the full version of photoshop, but still can't get the hang of using the selective coloring feature
-if you want to learn how to quickly color an image
-If you're bored and just like to read tutorials

Alright, let's get started!

Step 0:

If you haven't already, you need to select and crop your image. I usually don't resize it at this point, but if you'd like to, you may, it doesn't really matter.

This tutorial really works best if you have an image with many different colors. For instance, this Alice in Wonderland screen contains green, yellow, blue, and just a bit of red.

Step 1: Brightness/Contrast

The first thing we want to do is adjust the brightness and contrast. This can be done by going Enhance> Adjust lighting> Brightness/Contrast.

Now first increase the contrast, then if the picture needs lightening adjust the brightness.

Remember, these are my settings, but the settings that work for this picture may not work for yours. Adjust the bars until you get an image you like. Make sure not to go too high with either so that there is too much contrast or the image is too washed.

Click Ok.

Step 2: Color Adjustment

Now that we've played with the brightness and contrast, it's time for the fun part! Adjusting the color!

First, go to Enhance> Adjust color> Color variations.

Now, a window will pop up. This is the color variations menu.

The menu's pretty simple. It will show a preview of what each adjustment will do to your image and it shows you a nice before and after, so that you can decide if it actually looks better than the original. And if you make an adjustment and then decide you don't like it, there's an Undo button off on the right side, which I've circled in red just in case... you... miss... it. Yeah, okay, maybe I didn't need to do that, it's kinda obvious. XD

Anyways, do you see where off on the left there's a list with little selective bubbles next to each item, where it says, midtones, highlights, shadows, and saturation. It automatically opens to midtones, where you can start adding and decreasing color, but we don't want to do that yet.

We're going to increase the saturation first, so select saturation. Then, using the adjust color intensity sliding bar (I've circled it in blue), select how much you'd like to adjust the saturation of your image. The bar has seven settings. I NEVER go above midway, which is about the fourth setting.

When adjusting the bar pay attention to the little preview in the middle. When you find a setting that looks nice, click on the preview and it will adjust your image. I've already increased the saturation, that's why the preview here looks weird. If it feels like too little or too much, click the undo button and try a different setting.

Now that we've increased the saturation, it's time to play with the color. Yay! Select the midtones bubble.

When adjusting the colors, I usually have the color intensity bar set at the second setting. If the image is particularly dark, I'll set it higher, but again, I never go above midway. It tends to make the color look too dominant. You can try it if you want, though. You might get some interesting results. Anyways, if you have an image that includes a person, and you chose to increase the saturation like I showed you, then you're going to probably want to decrease the red by clicking the preview image a couple times. Otherwise your people will come out looking a bit sunburned. Then select the other colors you want to increase or decrease by clicking the preview image. You'll notice that you can even darken or lighten the image as you please off to the right there, so if you'd like, do that. Make sure that you don't click any one color too much, or it will become over dominating. And nobody wants that. 

Once you're finished click the okay button.

Now, here you can do one of two things. You can resize the image (if you haven't already) and start adding text or textures if you're happy with it the way it is. If not, you can repeat the whole process.

Step 3: Repeat!

I've already told you how to do all this, so I'm just going to give you some tips now for the second time around.
-When adjustung the brightness/contrast, I usually set it lower than I did the first time around, just so it doesn't become too much.
-When adjusting the saturation this time, I usually don't set the color intensity past the second setting. Same goes for the colors. Sometimes at this stage I'll lower the saturation instead of increasing it, depending on the look I want.
-This time around you can try playing with the shadows and highlights if any changes you make to the midtones turns out to be too much.
-Sometimes if I want to bring out a color, I will actually choose to decrease it instead of increase it. This pulls it out of the other colors in the picture to make it stand out more. This doesn't always work, though.

And... that's pretty much it. You can go at it a third time if you really feel it needs it, but after the second time it usually looks over colored.

Now just add your text and textures and you've got an icon!

If you found this tutorial at all helpful, I would really appreciate it, if you'd link to it in your journal, or wherever you choose to post all your icons. Not required, of course, but it would make me happy! :D

Alice screen came from toybirds.org/caps/gallery/thumbnails.php

Here are some more examples of colorings using this technique.

If you have any questions, feel free to post them here or at will_icon_4food and I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability. 
Tags: anime & manga: colouring, program: photoshop, tutorial: colouring

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